Travel ban on 5 Taliban released last year extended
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Travel ban on five Taliban leaders, who were released from the Guantanamo Bay detention center and transferred to Qatar, has been extended for another year, the White House confirmed Monday.
The move comes after a number of top American lawmakers expressed concern over the efforts of these Taliban leaders to establish contacts with their leadership in Afghanistan.
“There are restrictions that have been in place for a year that continue to be in place today, and we continue to be in touch with our partners in Qatar who have imposed some of those restrictions about what our path forward will be,” the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters at his daily news conference.
“Those restrictions, under the agreement that was initially reached, would be put in place for a year. And the path forward is something that we’re discussing now with the Qataris,” he said.
The travel ban will remain in until an additional agreement can be reached about steps that the US believe are necessary to protect the national security of the United States, he said.
Before these individuals were transferred from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, the Secretary of Defense had to certify that there was a strategy for mitigating the risk that these individuals posed to the United States and its national security.
“That strategy has been implemented by our partners in Qatar, and we continue to be in touch with them about what system will be in place moving forward,” Earnest said.
In a statement, Senator Jim Inhofe, senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said a last minute agreement between Qatar and the U.S. Department of State has temporarily extended the travel ban on the Taliban five terrorists.
This was done because the State Department is concerned about the threat the Taliban five poses to the United States.
“However, as is typical with this administration, there is no long term plan on how to prevent their return to Afghanistan or other regions where our men and women in uniform are serving on the front lines of war,” Inhofe alleged.
The House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said extending the travel ban on the Taliban five terrorists is the right thing to do.
“But the fact that the travel ban even needs to be extended is another clear indicator that these terrorists are dangerous and should have never been released from Guantanamo,” he said.
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